Nineteen years ago, VISTE (Volunteers In Service To the Elderly) leadership saw a need within its client base and reached out to volunteers to help meet that need. Thanks to the kindness of those volunteers, 100 clients received a Thanksgiving meal that year. This Thanksgiving, VISTE anticipates delivering meals to approximately 1,400 clients on Nov. 26.
“This is one of our biggest endeavors each year,” said Ashley Miller, Volunteer Coordinator. “But it’s also one that we enjoy the most. This brings together volunteers and clients in a really meaningful way, and it reminds all of us to really be thankful during the season of Thanksgiving.”
VISTE’s mission is to enable the frail elderly to remain safely and independently in their own homes.
The Thanksgiving Meal Delivery Program is already underway at VISTE in various behind-the-scenes ways, but it will begin in earnest for volunteers the week of Thanksgiving. Volunteers gather each year on the Monday of that week at First Presbyterian Church to snap pole beans to be cooked later and used in the hot meal to be distributed on Wednesday the 26th.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, volunteers will be needed to deliver meals to clients and to spend some time visiting with them. Meals may be picked up at The Lakeland Center in Sikes Hall, which is located at 701 W. Lime St. in Lakeland. Pick-up begins at 3 p.m.
“This is something that we’ve seen grow through the years, with families and friends delivering together,” Miller said. “We provide volunteers with maps and directions along with the meals. Volunteers tell us that it’s a good way to begin the Thanksgiving holiday together.”
Miller also said that businesses may also volunteer to deliver meals as a group. Anyone interested in volunteering to deliver Thanksgiving meals should simply arrive at The Lakeland Center at the distribution time to collect their meals. Anyone with questions may contact VISTE at 863.284.0828.